West Norfolk council chief attacks recycling centre charge plan

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Plans to charge people to use village recycling centres in West Norfolk are a “retrograde” step that will create more problems, according to a senior borough councillor.

Norfolk County Council plans to introduce charges to dispose of items at its sites in Heacham and Docking next year.

But the move has been criticised by West Norfolk Council’s deputy leader, and environment portfolio holder, Brian Long.

Responding to a question from Conservative backbencher Andrew Morrison on the issue at Thursday’s full council meeting, he said: “I think it’s a retrograde step. It’s a cost shift and will lead to an increase in fly-tipping.”

He added that the move had been opposed by his party’s colleagues on the county council’s environment, development and transport committee.

Proposals to charge visitors to some recycling centres were first put forward in the autumn of 2013, along with the idea of switching certain sites to part-time opening.

Opponents raised concerns about the potential environmental impact, though county officials insisted they would avoid closing the sites altogether.

Meanwhile, Mr Long also defended the authority’s handling of bin collections over the Christmas period after Labour’s Sandra Collop questioned why it had taken so long for the service to return to normal after the festive break.

Collections were put back by up to five days because of the seasonal bank holidays falling just before a weekend.

And he warned that, while planning is already underway for this year, the council will face “a more difficult scenario” again, with Christmas Day falling on a Friday.

He added: “The alternative is you bring collection days forward, people dont realise and we get an inordinate amount of complaints.”

He also pointed out that residents are already notified of any changes to collection days.